(Effective 24 October 2023)
The Secretary shall be responsible for maintaining the current rules; Board meeting minutes shall record the change dates.
SECTION A. MEMBERSHIP
RULE A-1. APPLICATION FORM. Prepared by the Membership Committee; including at least the following:
- Contact Information
- Valid business email
- Employment information
- Education information
- Discipline information
- Proficiency test information (as applicable)
- Meeting attendance (as applicable)
- Sponsor information
- Non-refundable application fee
RULE A-2. FORM AVAILABILITY. Continuously on the website (safs1966.org)
RULE A-3. PROCEDURE. Deadlines: Application -March 1st (for Spring Annual Meeting); August 1st (for Fall Annual Meeting); Qualification – April 1st (for Spring Annual Meeting); September 1st (for Fall Annual Meeting).
- Applicant submits a completed application, with fee, via the website; the application is forwarded to the Membership Chairperson.
- The listed sponsor will receive an email notification of a pending sponsor endorsement which is accessed through the member area of the website. Once submitted, the endorsement form will be emailed to the Membership Chairperson.
- Upon request the Treasurer will inform the Membership Chairperson of the application fees received.
- Membership Chairperson sends an email acknowledgement to the applicant which will include information regarding the completeness of the application, deadline for submission of any missing information (if applicable), and when voting for new applicants is scheduled.
- The Membership Committee reviews each application and posts a list of the applicants, including brief information, to the membership for review. The window for membership review of the new applicant list will be at least two weeks.
- After Board action and/or member voting, the Secretary or Membership Chairperson will notify each applicant via email of the action taken.
RULE A-4. APPEALS PROCEDURE.
- If the applicant was denied membership and wishes to appeal, an appeal must be submitted via email to the Membership Chairperson within 30 days of the notification of the Board’s action.
- The Membership Chairperson shall acknowledge receipt of the appeal via email to the individual within 10 days. A copy of the email will be sent to the Board.
- The Membership Chairperson may, within 20 days of receipt of the appeal, request the appellant to provide additional or clarifying information or documentation. If the requested information or documentation is received within 30 days of the request, the Membership Chairperson will review the appeal considering the additional information or documentation. The Membership Chairperson will submit a recommendation concerning disposition of the appeal to the Board within 30 days of the receipt of the appeal, or if additional information or documentation is requested, within 30 days of the receipt of the requested information or documentation, and in all events within 80 days of receipt of the appeal.
- The Board shall consider the appeal at the next Board meeting. The Board will decide by simple majority vote what action should be taken on the appeal.
- Within 30 days of Board’s decision, the President shall notify the appellant and the Membership Chairperson via email of the decision.
- If the appeal is denied by the Board, a further and final appeal may be made by the applicant to the membership by emailing a notice of appeal to the President within 30 days of the notification of the Board’s action. The appeal shall be submitted for consideration and vote at the next regularly scheduled meeting of the membership. The vote of the membership shall exhaust the appeals process.
RULE A-5. APPLICATION FEE. Ten dollars ($10.00)
RULE A-6. ANNUAL DUES. Thirty-five dollars ($35.00). Dues notice will be sent by March 15th each year. Payment received after June 30th will incur a late fee of ten dollars ($10.00). Failure to pay dues for two consecutive years will result in a termination of membership privileges. New members will be billed for the year following their acceptance.
RULE A-7. STUDENT AFFILIATES. There will be no application fee; dues will be ten dollars ($10.00) per year, due with the application. All student affiliate memberships will terminate the following August 1st, at which time the student may re-apply if they are still a student. To provide rapid response, approval will be upon recommendation by the Membership Chairperson and approval by the President. Those approved will receive an email from the Secretary acknowledging their acceptance. Application is to include:
- Student’s name
- Student’s school name
- Student’s school email address
- Student’s area of interest/major
- Student’s planned year of graduation
- Student’s advisor/department head name
- Student’s advisor/department head school email address
- List of forensic science courses taken (as applicable)
RULE A-8. MEMBERSHIP INFORMATION / ROSTER. Membership roster and information may be shared with other forensic science organizations upon approval of the Board.
SECTION B. MEETINGS & WORKSHOPS
Responsibility for the Annual Meeting rests with the meeting planning committee which will consist of, at a minimum, the program chairperson (PC), social chairperson (SC), and workshop coordinator (WC). The general meetings should be referred to as “XXst Annual Meeting”. It is recommended that the duties be divided for registration, exhibitors, A/V, and other major portions of the meeting.
RULE B-1. REGISTRATION. All attending must register (including exhibitors), except a registrant’s non-member spouse who may attend occasional meeting sessions.
RULE B-2. FEES/CANCELLATIONS. Meetings and workshops are intended to be self-supporting except by approval of the Board; workshops held in conjunction with a meeting are considered a part of the meeting for expense accounting.
All meeting and workshop fees are due at the time of registration in the form of check, credit card, or purchase order. Requests for extenuating circumstances may be made to the PC.
Meetings: Fees are set by the meeting planning committee. All except the Board, PC, SC, and WC shall pay fees; fees for special guests may be waived with approval of the Board.
Workshops: Fees are set by the meeting planning committee, based on anticipated costs and participation. All except presenters shall pay fees. If the cost per person is too high to make the workshop practical, prior approval must be obtained from the Board to schedule a workshop with an anticipated deficit. A minimum number of participants shall be determined by the meeting planning committee. If that number is not met by a date predetermined by the meeting planning committee, the workshop may be cancelled. This information will be published in the original advertisement of the workshop.
Workshop/Meeting attendee cancellation: Refunds will be returned with the following guidelines:
- >45 days prior to workshop/meeting – 100% refund
- 45-30 days prior to workshop/meeting– 50% refund
- <30 days prior to workshop/meeting – 0% refund
The above guidelines are not meant to prohibit exceptions to the refund policy based on extenuating circumstances. Such requests will be made electronically to PC who will review and recommend refund status to Board for approval.
RULE B-3. EXHIBITOR’S FEES. Set by the meeting planning committee; to be at least $500.00 for approximately an 8’ by 10’ space. First determine the costs from the hotel and the vendor setting up the exhibit room. Each fee will include a table, chairs, no more than basic electrical, participation in a vendor reception and breakfast with the exhibitors. Obtain commitments from the exhibitors by providing a registration form. All hotel expenses not included in the above are the responsibility of the exhibitor. When contacting exhibitors, encourage them to sponsor a coffee break, hospitality session, registration/program materials, or provide supplies/equipment for workshops. If they do, acknowledgement shall be given.
RULE B-4. EXPENSES. Using information obtained from previous meetings, establish a budget. Meeting funds may be used only for items related to the meeting. Accurate records and receipts are to be maintained and submitted with the financial report. Excess funds shall go to the SAFS treasury; excess expenses shall be submitted to the Board.
Meeting or workshop expenses may include, but are not necessarily limited to, the following:
- Supplies: Donations of supplies may be accepted.
- Meeting rooms: Also includes fees for special facilities or utilities (see above in relation to exhibitors). Have all cost items, including any free items, included in the written contract.
- Breakfast/Lunches/Banquet/Breaks for registrants.
- Travel expenses: Nothing except lodging and parking fees are to be charged to the SAFS bill. All expenses will be based on Administrative Rule C-3 with meals provided deducted from payments at the amounts listed in Rule C-3.
- Speakers/Workshop instructors: Limited to travel expenses unless approved in advance by the President. If SAFS pays any individual over $600 in a year for other than expenses, there are tax forms which must be filed; consult the Treasurer. Have a written understanding of maximum costs prior to making a commitment.
- Registration and travel for PC, SC, and WC.
- Hospitality: Room (typically included in meeting spaces on contract); beverages, and snacks; should be kept as reasonable in amount as possible.
- The PC to submit a financial report to the Treasurer within 90 days after the function unless extended by the President. This report is to contain a list of any outstanding bills or payments due.
RULE B-5. CONTRACTUAL AGREEMENT. Use HelmsBriscoe to assist with choosing a suitable hotel for the meeting as well as writing up the contract. Establish a written contact between SAFS and the site provider listing at least the date(s), items provided, costs, who is responsible for what, and the method of payment. This contract is to be signed by at least the PC.
- Contract sites at least a year in advance; should be convenient to transportation and have parking, meeting and if applicable, exhibit rooms; the latter located for maximum exposure. This is important for continued exhibitor support.
- One or more lodging rooms may be provided free according to the number of reserved; be sure that all (including exhibitors’) rooms are included in this count. Consider the following:
- Possibility of obtaining government rates, and extension of room rates to include travel days before and after conference dates.
- If there is a deposit, check for cancellation and refund policy.
- Method of payment, to include direct billing if option.
RULE B-6. OPERATIONS. Refer to other parts of these administrative rules for information. Utilize the HelmsBriscoe representative, the local convention bureau, and the hotel staff as resources.
- Publicity: Use websites and social media as much as possible to solicit registrants and exhibitors. Secure an internet link to the hotel for advertising and booking rooms.
- Registration: Arrange for advance registration. It is recommended that there be at least two registration periods of the website: early and regular. Do not have onsite registration. Coordinate check-in desk at location prior to start of meeting.
- Program: Have the needed supplies and constantly monitor the situation. Follow up to see that functions are going smoothly, have sign in sheets to workshops, request feedback if possible.
- Determine the needed AV equipment from each participant: computer, projector, microphone prior to start of meeting. Check for availability of extension cords and AV equipment.
- Arrange for speaker/workshop instructor introductions.
- Put a tentative program on meeting website as soon as possible and update as needed.
- Meeting room directory/maps may be provided in hard copy along with agenda. Remainder of program should be digital.
- Food and Beverage: Contracts usually require a minimum amount spent on food and beverage to secure free or deeply discounted meeting and exhibitor spaces. You will have to guarantee the number of meals; usually final head counts are needed 1-2 weeks before start date of meeting; most hotels will serve up to 5-10% over the guarantee. Expect to pay for all meals served, but no less than the guarantee, this includes AM and PM workshop breaks.
- Follow up: Send the registrants names, employer, and email addresses to the exhibitors upon request (have release on registration form); provide a list of vendor/sponsor contact persons to the PC for the next meeting; send a copy of the program, workshop presentations, posters, photographs, etc. to the Secretary for posting on website and for archival purposes.
Rule B-7: BOARD MEMBER DUTIES. Board members who are not a PC, SC, or WC will be encouraged but not required to attend the Annual Meeting.
- If attending, a travel request form must be approved prior to incurring any expenses to be paid by SAFS.
- At a minimum, meeting registration, reasonable transportation, and two-nights lodging should be covered by SAFS.
- Attending Board members are expected to assist with on-site meeting needs. A schedule of duties should be determined, to the fullest extent possible, prior to the start of the meeting. Duties shall include the following:
- Work the check-in desk.
- Attend all parts of the regular meeting, to include the business meeting.
- Attend activities such as vendor receptions, banquet, and hospitality suite.
- Be present and available to attendees and vendors to answer questions and assist with their needs throughout the meeting.
SECTION C. TRAVEL
RULE C-1. LIABILITY. Any person traveling for the Association shall do so at their own risk. No liability shall fall on the Association.
RULE C-2. EXPENSE APPROVAL. Those authorized by these Administrative Rules require advance approval by the President; all others must be approved in advance by the Board. A travel request form must be completed and submitted for review prior to reserving travel.
RULE C-3. AMOUNTS. Expenses shall be based on the following. Any exceptions must be submitted to the President for prior approval.
- Transportation: Coach fare or the actual cost of a rental car, or mileage consistent with the current federal mileage reimbursement rate; receipt(s) required. Amount paid will not exceed air coach fare.
- Meals: Current federal meal rates for the location of the expenses.
- Lodging: Actual room rate as contracted for the meeting at the host hotel; receipt(s) required.
- Miscellaneous: to include but not limited to baggage fees, parking, and local transport; receipt(s) required.
- Travel expense forms must be submitted within 30 days of travel.
RULE C-4. REIMBURSEMENT. Upon receipt of the necessary form with any required receipts, payment may be made up to the authorized amount; any excess expenses must be approved in accordance with Administrative Rule Section E.
SECTION D. ELECTIONS
RULE D-1. NOMINATIONS. The Nomination Committee Chairperson will provide for publication on the website, an announcement of positions to be filled in the next election, requesting a response from qualified persons with qualification information for publication including a passport type photograph. The nomination announcement will be posted four months prior to the Annual Meeting. The committee should select at least two candidates per position which shall include a write-in option, excluding the position of President, which is filled by the President-Elect, in accordance with the Bylaws. The nominations will be open for a minimum of 60 days.
RULE D-2. BALLOT PROCEDURE. A brief resume on each candidate will be posted in the Members Area of the SAFS website. If voting does not occur at the Business Meeting, the Nomination Committee Chairperson or Secretary will email a ballot to each voting member at least two weeks before the ballots are due. Electronic voting will be recorded via the Members Area of the SAFS website. A quorum for an electronic vote will be 50 voting members with responses received by a deadline for voting. The winning candidate(s) will be determined by a simple majority of the ballots cast. In the event of a tie, the position will be chosen by the Nominations Committee. Following tabulation of the ballots, the Nominations Chairperson or Secretary will notify each candidate of the results and should provide an announcement of the officers-elect to the membership prior to the regular meeting.
SECTION E. FISCAL
RULE E-1. EXPENSE PAYMENTS. All payments are subject to the following rules. No checks are to be made payable to cash, and split payments are not to be used to circumvent these rules. A payment authorization form will be submitted to the Treasurer. Payment upon presentation of bill/receipt(s).
Without the required documentation, the next higher level of approval is required:
- Less than two hundred fifty dollars ($250.00): Requires prior approval by the Treasurer.
- Over two hundred fifty dollars ($250.00): Requires prior approval by the Board.
RULE E-2. ACCOUNTS. All accounts to be in SAFS’ or function’s name. Funds are to be deposited to obtain maximum interest without restricting access for operational needs. The Treasurer and/or designee shall have signature authority on all accounts. All accounts are subject to regulations in these Administrative Rules. All special accounts are to be reconciled as soon as the purpose is completed, and all checks have cleared. All statements, checks, etc. are to be sent to the Treasurer and/or designee.
SECTION F. WEBSITE
RULE F-1. WEBMASTER.
Responsible for posting and maintaining website content to include, at a minimum, the information found in Rule F-2. Additionally, the Webmaster will be responsible for facilitating the hosting service. The webmaster can be either a SAFS member offering their services pro bono, or an independent contractor hired by the Board.
RULE F-2. CONTENT AND SOURCES.
- In Public Area:
- SAFS Bylaws, Administrative Rules, and Code of Ethics
- Technical information and other submitted material
- President’s Message
- Employment opportunities
- Details of upcoming meeting(s) and link to meeting webpage
- Membership information and application forms
- Grant application solicitations/proposals
- Awards and Scholarships offered by SAFS
- In Members Area:
- List of members
- List of applicants
- Minutes and other reports of the meeting
- Request for nomination candidates
- List of the candidates with brief resumes
- List of meeting attendees
- Workshop and meeting presentations
- Training, Education, and Research committee updates
- Pertinent forms
- Voting, as needed
RULE F-3. FINANCIAL. The Treasurer is authorized to make payments for website hosting and maintenance. Any changes to current costs will be presented to the Board for approval.
SECTION G. OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT
RULE G-1. DUTIES. Following includes some of those prescribed by the Bylaws:
- Preside at Association and Board meetings.
- Maintain a working knowledge of Roberts Rules of Order.
- Conduct the business of the Association and promote the fulfillment of its objectives.
- Designate Committee Chairs unless predetermined by the Bylaws. Appoint from the membership other committees as deemed necessary.
- Provide message to membership on a bi-annual basis to be posted on website.
- Facilitate and plan bi-annual Board meetings.
- Present awards nominees to Board for approval.
SECTION H. OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT-ELECT
RULE H-1. DUTIES. Following includes some of those prescribed by the Bylaws:
- Fulfill the President’s duties should the President be absent, leave office, or become incapacitated.
- Chair the Membership Committee.
- Assist President in planning of Board meetings.
- Serve on Board.
SECTION I. OFFICE OF THE PAST-PRESIDENT
RULE I-1. DUTIES. Following include some of those prescribed by the Bylaws:
- Chair the Nomination Committee.
- Serve on the Board.
- Chair the Ethics Committee for a period of one year following the completion of the Past-President term.
SECTION J. OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY
RULE J-1. DUTIES. Following includes some of those prescribed by the Bylaws:
- Record minutes of meetings: publish on website with other meeting information. Draft copies of Board Meeting minutes will be supplied to Board members prior to next meeting and to membership prior to Annual Business meeting.
- Maintain a file of Association correspondence, reports, and other information related to Association business.
- Prepare Bylaws and Administrative Rules and submit for publication.
- Act as the liaison between the Association and the Webmaster.
- Send welcome email and website login to new members.
- Serve on the Board.
SECTION K. OFFICE OF THE TREASURER
RULE K-1. DUTIES. Following includes some of those prescribed by the Bylaws:
- Send copies of the monthly bank statements to the President upon request.
- Send dues notices by March 15 per Administrative Rules Section A.
- Notify the Board of those members whose dues remain unpaid prior to and at the Board meeting.
- Provide financial reports at meetings.
- Review various financial reports and pass them on to the Board with any appropriate comments and/or suggestions.
- Maintain financial records, including revenues and expenses, and assist the Audit Committee with the yearly audits.
- Prepare and submit IRS Forms, including 990EZ and a copy of the current SAFS Bylaws, as required.
- Provide information as outlined in Rule A-3
- Serve on the Board.
SECTION L. OFFICE OF BOARD MEMBER-AT-LARGE
RULE L-1. DUTIES. Following includes some of those prescribed by the Bylaws:
- Chair or serve on a committee, as directed by the President.
- Review scholarship applications.
- Perform duties as assigned by the President or by action of the Board.
- Serve on the Board.
SECTION M. COMMUNICATION AND AWARDS COMMITTEE
RULE M-1. DUTIES. To include the following:
- Maintain the awards program
- Receive nominations and make recommendations to the President/Board for awards (either given by SAFS or from another organization or individual through SAFS)
- Provide service awards to Board Members and Officers, Committee Chairs, and Annual Meeting coordinators.
- Maintain social media.
RULE M-2. MEMBERS. A minimum of three SAFS voting members is recommended, to include member(s)-at-large. Chairperson and members to be appointed by the President.
RULE M-3. GENERAL CRITERIA.
- There is no requirement that awards be given each year nor is there a limit to the number that can be recommended by the committee.
- SAFS non-members may be eligible for awards (unless specifically excluded under Rule M-4).
- Monetary awards will be in the form of a subsidy for a meeting or training session unless the provider of the award specifies otherwise.
- The Board reserves the right to decline participation in any award which it feels does not meet SAFS criteria.
RULE M-4. TYPES AND CRITERIA FOR AWARDS.
- New Scientist Award (may be accompanied by a monetary award)
- Less than five years’ experience in forensic science.
- Demonstrates a high level of motivation and contribution to forensic science.
- Must be an Associate member of SAFS, at a minimum.
- Outstanding Scientist Award (may be accompanied by a monetary award)
- More than five years’ experience in forensic science.
- Significant research or development of a method or methods which greatly improves the capability or accuracy of forensic science analyses or examinations.
- Demonstrates a high level of motivation, leadership, and contribution to the field of forensic science.
- Has demonstrated a high level of knowledge and expertise in casework.
- Must be a voting member of SAFS.
- Distinguished Service Award (may be accompanied by a monetary award)
- At least 15 years’ experience in forensic science and 10 years as a SAFS member.
- Outstanding contributions to SAFS, including teaching, service as a Board member, committee member, section chair, organization representative or meeting planner.
- Dedication to improvement in the quality, recognition, and acceptance of SAFS or the forensic science field.
- James W. Campbell Jr. Scholarship (meeting registration for new or Associate member).
- Scholarship is valid for two years.
- Application will include a personal statement which describes the applicant’s contribution to forensic science and why they deserve the scholarship.
- Must be an Associate member of SAFS, at a minimum.
- Lynn Henson Scholarship (fees for personal certification).
- Scholarship is valid for two years.
- Application will include a personal statement which describes the applicant’s contribution to forensic science and why they deserve the scholarship.
- Must be an Associate member of SAFS, at a minimum.
- Awards given to SAFS members by an outside source (examples: AAFS Forensic Sciences Regional Award or the Rhodes Scholarship).
RULE M-5. PROCEDURE.
- Any member of SAFS may make a nomination to the committee by March 1st for consideration at the next Annual Meeting. Self-nomination is not permitted for SAFS awards as listed in Administrative Rule M-4 a-c.
- The award nomination must be submitted electronically through the website. Nominations for awards listed in M-4 a-c must be made by a SAFS member.
- Communications and Awards Committee will review Award nominations and make recommendations to the Board at a Board meeting.
- Members-at-Large will review Scholarship nominations and make recommendations to the Board at a Board meeting.
- Awards will be announced at the Annual Meeting.
- Scholarship recipients will be notified via email by the President and announced at the Annual Meeting. Those not selected will be encouraged to reapply.
- All award and scholarship recipients will be posted on the website following the Annual Meeting.
SECTION N. TRAINING, EDUCATION, AND RESEARCH (TER) COMMITTEE
RULE N-1. DUTIES. To determine training needs and make recommendations to the Board on items including, but not limited to, the following:
- Workshops and training sessions in conjunction with meetings.
- Training to be conducted separate from the meetings.
- Other training needs as proposed by members or that become self-evident.
- Additionally, keep a spreadsheet of past and possible future workshop presenters and topics.
RULE N-2. MEMBERS. A minimum of three SAFS voting members is recommended, appointed by the President, with at least one member continued from the previous year’s committee. The Chairperson is to be appointed by the President. It is recommended that no two individuals are from the same discipline. The workshop coordinator from the most recent annual meeting should be a member.
SECTION O. AUDIT COMMITTEE
RULE O-1. DUTIES. Conduct and complete an audit of the Association’s books following each fiscal year, at a minimum, and present report to the Board during a Business Meeting.
RULE O-2. MEMBERS. Chaired by a voting member; membership to include the Treasurer as an ex-officio nonvoting member, three additional voting members in good standing, and the appointed Program Chairpersons of the next two upcoming meetings.
SECTION P. ETHICS COMMITTEE
RULE P-1. DUTIES. The Ethics Committee, when required, shall be responsible for the following:
- Review and recommend changes to the SAFS Code of Ethics
- Review all complaints received which specify a violation of the SAFS Code of Ethics
- Upon review of such complaints, recommend a course of action to the Board. The final decision on all committee recommendations shall rest with the Board.
RULE P-2. MEMBERS. The Chairperson will be the individual who has just completed service on the Board as the Past-President (one year), two former Board members, and two voting members who are not current Board members to be appointed by the Ethics Chairperson, with the President’s approval. An additional ad hoc member will be a voting member of the discipline affected appointed by the President. All committee members shall be in good standing and be willing to serve. Should any committee member become a party to a complaint (as the subject or complainant), that person shall withdraw from any deliberation concerning the matter and a temporary committee member shall be named by the Chairperson.
RULE P-3. PROCEDURE.
- An electronically written complaint alleging violation(s) of the Code of Ethics must be submitted to the President.
- The President shall acknowledge the receipt of the complaint electronically, within 10 business days the individual submitting a complaint (complainant) and forward the complaint to the Ethics Chairperson.
- The Ethics Chairperson shall evaluate the complaint to determine whether additional information or clarification is needed to ascertain the nature and circumstances of the alleged violation. The chairperson may request the complainant to provide additional or clarifying information. The chairperson shall determine whether the Ethics Committee has jurisdiction and whether the complaint alleges a violation of the SAFS Code of Ethics. If the chair finds that the Ethics Committee does not have jurisdiction or that the complaint does not allege a violation of the Code of Ethics, a summary of the complaint shall be presented to the Board at the next board meeting with a recommendation to the Board to dismiss the complaint. The Board shall not be advised of the identity of the complainant or the respondent. In the event of dismissal, the complainant shall be notified of the dismissal in writing and the respondent shall be notified that a complaint was made, the nature of the complaint and that the complaint was dismissed. The respondent shall not be advised of the identity of the complainant.
- If the chairperson or Board finds that the Ethics Committee has jurisdiction and that the complaint alleges a violation of the Code of Ethics, the respondent shall be notified of the filing of the complaint and provided with a copy of the complaint and all materials submitted with the complaint. The respondent shall be advised that he/she may submit, within 30 days of notice, an electronically written reply, and any documents the respondent desires to have considered by the Ethics Committee for the purpose of a preliminary determination of whether probable cause exists to proceed with a hearing on the matters raised in the complaint. After the expiration of the reply period the response shall be sent to the complainant and the complainant given 30 days to comment in writing about this response. The Ethics Committee shall consider the complaint, any reply and all materials submitted by the complainant or the respondent and determine whether there is probable cause to believe that the allegations of the complaint are true (probable cause means that it is reasonable to believe that the complaint is true). If probable cause is not found, a detailed summary of the complaint and response shall be presented to the Board at the next board meeting with a recommendation to the board to dismiss the complaint. In the event of dismissal, the complainant and the respondent shall be notified. If probable cause is found to exist, the Ethics Committee shall schedule and conduct a hearing as provided in section P-4 of these Rules.
- If probable cause is found to exist and a hearing is, or is to be, scheduled, the Ethics Committee may appoint a member of SAFS to conduct an investigation of the matters raised in the complaint and secure written statements and documents for consideration by the Ethics Committee. Copies of any materials submitted to the Ethics Committee by any person so appointed shall be made available for inspection by the complainant and the respondent.
- This process may be suspended at any time at the discretion of the Ethics Committee if it becomes known that the circumstances surrounding a complaint are being dealt with by any court or other competent body, pending its resolution. The complainant, the respondent, and the Board shall be notified of this action.
RULE P-4 HEARING ON THE COMPLAINT.
- The complainant and respondent shall be notified by certified mail with respect to the nature and particulars of the complaint, the date, time, and location (in person or virtual) of the Ethics Committee meeting in which the hearing will be held, the rights of the parties to submit written statements for consideration at this meeting, and the rights of the parties to confront one another.
This notification is to be at least 30 days prior to the meeting. All written submissions from the complainant and the respondent (or their representative) must be received at least 7 days prior to the meeting. The complainant and respondent may be present at the meeting and address the Ethics Committee prior to their decision. The complainant and respondent shall be responsible for any expenses incurred by them to attend this meeting, to include legal fees. Additional witnesses may be heard; legal representatives for all parties involved may be present. Upon completion of the hearing, the Ethics Committee will convene a meeting to discuss the recommendation.
- The Chairperson shall provide a written report of the meeting to the Board within 30 days from the date of the Ethics Committee meeting. The report is to present a concise summary of the facts for both parties, with regard to the credibility of the evidence, and conclude with recommendations of action for consideration by the Board.
- The report and its contents shall be treated as confidential and not publicized.
- The complainant and the respondent shall be notified in writing via certified mail of the recommendations being made by the Ethics Committee to the Board but shall not be provided with a copy of the report.
RULE P-5 BOARD ACTION.
- The Board shall consider the Ethics Committee report at the next meeting of the Board. The respondent shall be notified by certified mail as to the date, time, and location (in person or virtual) of the Board meeting.
- If the respondent wishes to attend this meeting, they should notify the President at least 15 days prior to the meeting. The respondent will be responsible for any expenses incurred by them to attend the meeting.
- The Board will decide by simple majority what action should be taken with the complaint. The action of the Board can be one of the following:
- Dismiss the complaint, with no further action.
- Uphold the complaint and issue a letter of reprimand, with or without sanctions.
- Revoke membership.
- The President of SAFS shall notify the respondent and complainant of the decision within 10 business days of the decision.
- The respondent can appeal the revocation of their membership. They must obtain a 2/3 vote of the voting members present at the next regularly scheduled Annual Meeting.
- No other private or public statement will be made by any Board or committee member. No record or testimony provided to the Board or Ethics Committee members will be released regarding SAFS’s action on the complaint and its resolution.
- The Secretary shall maintain reports of all ethics complaints and hearings.
RULE P-6 COMMITTEE/COMPLAINT CONTINUITY.
The original committee that takes up a complaint will see it through the entire life of the complaint (until the Board’s final decision), regardless of the term expiration of any of the individual committee members.
SECTION Q. MEMBERSHIP COMMITTEE
RULE Q-1. DUTIES. To include the following:
- Prepare and publish an application form.
- Investigate the qualifications of each applicant and ensure required documents have been submitted.
- Publish a list of applicants in Members-Area of website and/or via email to membership and report recommendations to the Board.
- Notify any applicants not accepted as members.
RULE Q-2. MEMBERS. President-Elect as chairperson and additional voting members appointed by the President-Elect with the President’s approval; to include at least one member of the previous year’s committee, if feasible.
SECTION R. NOMINATION COMMITTEE
RULE R-1. DUTIES. To include the following:
- Establish nomination qualifications and post nomination announcements on website.
- Review list of nominees for minimum qualifications.
- Publish a list of nominees in Members Area of website and/or via email to membership.
- If applicable, prepare and distribute ballot to each voting member which includes time voting is open. Tabulate and announce election results. The Nomination Chairperson may select members, other than committee members, to tabulate results.
RULE R-2. MEMBERS. Immediate Past-President as chairperson and additional voting members appointed by the Immediate Past-President with the President’s approval; to include at least one member of the previous year’s committee, if feasible.
SECTION S. HISTORICAL COMMITTEE
RULE R-1. DUTIES. To document and preserve items of current and historical significance to the organization to include photographs and programs.
RULE R-2. MEMBERS. Chaired by a voting member, and additional voting members appointed by the President, as needed.
© Southern Association of Forensic Scientists